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A business case for tele-intensive care units

Alberto Coustasse, Stacie Deslich, Deanna Bailey, Alesia Hairston, David Paul
Permanente Journal 2014, 18 (4): 76-84
25662529

OBJECTIVES: A tele-intensive care unit (tele-ICU) uses telemedicine in an intensive care unit (ICU) setting, applying technology to provide care to critically ill patients by off-site clinical resources. The purpose of this review was to examine the implementation, adoption, and utilization of tele-ICU systems by hospitals to determine their efficiency and efficacy as identified by cost savings and patient outcomes.

METHODS: This literature review examined a large number of studies of implementation of tele-ICU systems in hospitals.

RESULTS: The evidence supporting cost savings was mixed. Implementation of a tele-ICU system was associated with cost savings, shorter lengths of stay, and decreased mortality. However, two studies suggested increased hospital cost after implementation of tele-ICUs is initially expensive but eventually results in cost savings and better clinical outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Intensivists working these systems are able to more effectively treat ICU patients, providing better clinical outcomes for patients at lower costs compared with hospitals without a tele-ICU.

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